MOUNT PLEASANT — An American flag hangs on a 48-foot tall, 65,000-pound slab of concrete that symbolizes a milestone for Foxconn's Wisconsin development.
"It's been a long time coming," said Adam Jelen, the senior vice president with Gilbane, the company helping construct the facility.
It comes about a year after it began leveling and clearing an area equivalent to 17 football fields in between Interstate 94 and Highway H in Mount Pleasant.
"Back in 2018, we started the master plan site development where we did the earth moving, and storm water management systems, temporary haul roads. We're now working on the permanent roadway systems. We just finished 17 football fields of foundations here for the first advance manufacturing fabrication facilities. And now we can finally start, finally start vertical construction," Jelen said.
The facility will eventually be a high-tech manufacturing center for liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. However, that's not it. The facility will also be responsible for:
- a liquid crystal module backend packaging plant
- a high-precision molding factory
- a system integration assembly facility
- a rapid prototyping center to help startups to test out their hardware ideas and concepts which will go in line with building the AI 8K+5G ecosystem
- a research and development center
- a high-performance data center inside the park or in the vicinity
- a town center to support the people working in the Wisconn Valley Park
Right now, though, it's just a handful of slabs that measure about 40 feet tall and 65,000 pounds. In total, 411 will be installed, and crews can align about 10 to 15 a day.
"Our goal is to get the bulk of the enclosure done by year-end," Jelen said.
After that, the plan is to transition into phase two of development.
"As we go into quarter 2 of 2020, we have a phase turnover of the raw construction that then feeds the owner activity with equipment and start up and all of the like that takes down stream of the construction process," he said.
In other words, they will begin putting in the machinery necessary for manufacturing the LCD products. According to Jelen, the factory will be "operational" by the fourth quarter of 2020.
"It takes a lot of time to do things with a steady hand, and make sure it's safe and calibrated and managed to where we can have a project that can be successful in all criteria," he said.
The panels being erected now were all made by a local company, Spancrete, based in Waukesha. Once that is finished, 8,000 pounds of structural steel will be used to reinforce the building's structure.
Despite varying weather conditions over the last year, Jelen said they are within a day or two of their predicted construction schedule.